The ‘bete noir’ of Scottish time trials this year raised its head prior to the Scottish National Team Time Trial Championship. Thankfully the roads department of Forfar Council were able to identify the culprit of the unauthorised works and get them removed before the event (Saturday 12th August.)
Although the overall entry was slightly down on last year, there were seven ladies teams and 25 mens teams on the start list. Overnight rain and strong winds gave way to ever brightening conditions and the race got underway on dry roads. The course is based on a triangle, starting on the edge of Forfar, heading towards Froickheim, up the A933, then left onto the B9113, past the finish, turn left into Forfar and head out on the second lap, giving a total distance of 38 miles.
In the womens event, Dooleys.co.uk were back to defend their title and faced stiff competition from last year’s podium squads, Edinburgh RC and Stirling Bike Club. Add into the mix RT23 and all look set for a good competition.
RT23 were the first to hit trouble with Catriona MacGillivray’s chain jumping off on a number of occasions requiring mechanical assistance and delaying the team.
After the first lap, Dooleys were nearly three minutes up on RT23 with the Stirling Bike Club squad just 15 seconds behind. Dooleys extended their advantage to over 6 minutes, recording 1:30:55. The troubles continued for RT23, suffering a puncture on the second lap and this enabled Stirling Bike Club to claim the silver spot. Stirling Bike Club B squad claimed 4th spot ahead of Lenzie Velo and Deeside Thistle.
The time of the winners was well over three minutes quicker than the time they recorded last year.
The ladies actually have a tougher event than their male counterparts. The teams are made up of three riders and all three have to finish, meaning any mishap or mechanical really affects the team’s performance.
The mens race looked on paper to be who could match Pro Vision Scotland, or whether John Archibald’s teammates could hang on! Last year’s top three teams were competing again, with Spokes RT and Carrick CC out to give Pro Vision a hard time, and Dooleys.co.uk, GTR and RT23 were also amongst the very strong field.
At the halfway stage 1’20” covered 2nd through to 7th, but Pro Vision had already built a lead of 1’43”. RT23, GTR and Carrick CC were all within 38 seconds, with Moray Firth, Spokes RT and Dooleys A completing the main contenders. By this time the event saw the only retirements of the day with one of the Deeside Thistle teams suffering a puncture and rider fatigue.
By the finish RT23 (Ettles/Thomson/MacGillivray/Addis) were back recording 1:19:20, with GTR (Gordon/Smart/Entwistle/Holmes) recording a time of 1:19:21. Both these times beat the 2016 Pro Vision winning time of 1:19:27. This years top six teams all finished inside the time of last years runners up, Carrick CC, Dooleys, Moray Firth and Spokes.
Unfortunately for them, Pro Vision Scotland matched the effort of the ladies Dooleys squad by beating last years time by 3’40”, (Archibald/Friel/Griffiths/Roberts) taking an emphatic win.
Mhairi Laffoley presented the medals, with Paul Zarb (Scottish Cycling RDO) helping. As the event was run in Forfar, all of the podium riders all received the local delicacy, a bridie for their efforts.
Following on from the Team Time Trial, the organiser Martin Harris can now focus on the Youth Time Trial next weekend and Spokes can focus on the Road Race Championships on the Sunday. As always the organiser expressed thanks to all officials and volunteers without whom there would be no racing and the riders for entering and putting on such a well fought competition.
Full results to follow.